A Hughesville man was sentenced Tuesday in Charles County Circuit Court to four years in prison for negligent manslaughter in a May 2019 drunk-driving accident that left a Silver Spring man dead.
Mark Andrew Latson, 59, entered a guilty plea to the aforementioned charge on Feb. 21. Latson was sentenced by Judge Amy J. Bragunier.
Southern Maryland News previously reported that on May 2, 2019, Maryland State Police troopers responded to a reported two-car accident on Leonardtown Road in the area of Huckleberry Road in Bryantown at approximately 1:52 a.m. Investigation revealed that Latson was driving a Mercedes-Benz southbound in the divided highway’s northbound lanes.
Latson collided head-on with Timothy Markin, 47, who was driving a 2008 Toyota Camry northbound. Markin was pronounced dead at the scene and Latson was later taken to University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center for treatment.
Assistant State’s Attorney Tiffany Campbell aided prosecution and asked for the maximum sentence allowed by law. Campbell restated the moments leading up to the fatal accident, saying the “facts are egregious” and noted that on average, 29 people die every day in the United States from motor vehicle crashes with an alcohol-impaired driver.
Campbell went on to mention that Latson was traveling at 75 mph in a 55 mph zone and his blood alcohol concentration was three times the legal limit at the time of the crash.
“From the state’s perspective, [Latson] is a retired police officer,” Campbell said. “Police officers should know the danger of drunk driving based on the nature of the job.”
Multiple members of Markin’s family spoke at sentencing, describing him as a great father, husband and son. Markin’s family pleaded against drunk driving and Markin’s cousin, a current law officer, said Latson tarnished the reputation of law officers by his actions.
“Latson took the life of a man that was loved by so many people in here and beyond,” Campbell said. Two separate courtrooms were needed to facilitate the number of attendees for sentencing from both Latson’s family and Markin’s family.
Latson was represented in his case by private defense attorneys Mandeep Chhabra and Hammad Matin. Matin said that Latson had never been charged with a crime prior to the incident and that Latson is the type of person people would want as their neighbor, friend or otherwise part of their life.
Matin said he had never before seen 40 people, roughly the amount that came for Latson, come to court in support of a defendant. Matin mentioned that Latson served in the U.S. Navy and was honorably discharged before becoming a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
“This is a man who started his life saying he wanted to give back,” Matin said. “He recognized he should be held to a higher standard, he made the worst mistake of his life that one day and will live with it.”
Matin said that prior to the incident, Latson was not a “normal drinker” and will most likely not drink alcohol again. Matin said Latson wanted to do what was right by taking the guilty plea and feels tremendous remorse for his actions.
“[Latson] had no desire to harm anyone, you never think you can hurt someone,” Matin said. “This is a man who wants to take responsibility.”
Latson’s wife spoke on his behalf, apologizing to Markin’s family and friends for the pain her husband caused. Latson himself said he would have to live with his actions for the rest of his life, but asked for forgiveness from Markin’s family.
Upon release, Latson will have to serve five years of supervised probation.